Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Perne Rd/Radegund Rd Shops and Flats

The state of the site at the junction of Perne Road and Radegund Road is a major source of requests for action, and after repeated calls to setup a meeting, on Monday I met with the developers, their architects and agents, and a representative from Coleridge Labour party , who is also pressing for action.

The developers reassured us that they are keen to bring the site fully back into use as soon as possible, and after delays due to commercial issues that needed to be resolved, they are now preparing to submit plans to the Council.

The current plans that we were shown on Monday are to refurbish the existing building, whilst extending it at the rear and into a new roof level to increase the number of flats. The shops would continue to trade if they wished to during the refurbishment works.

I certainly had a number of questions about the plans, in areas such as quality of design and materials, cycle and car parking and energy efficiency of the building, as well as the potential effect on neighbouring properties. Although the architect was aware of the potential issues, and confident that the plans address them, residents, planners and Councillors will want to review detailed plans. I made it clear that residents need to be consulted on the plans, and the obvious need to redevelop the site as soon as possible shouldn’t stop any potential concerns from being addressed as far as possible.

The developers seemed keen to take up the suggestion of consulting residents ahead of submitting a planning application, to maximise the chance of any issues being resolved at that stage, and proposed some type of exhibition of the plans, when questions can be raised, although if there are any urgent questions at this stage, please let me know and I can forward them. The owners aim to talk to the planners and highways authorities as soon as possible, and will then consult residents. They hope to obtain planning approval by the summer, and construction could take 12 months.

My priority remains to ensure the building is brought back into residential use as soon as possible, whilst continuing to support local independent shops at this location, as long as the plans are acceptable to local residents.

We have been at this stage before and then hit by delays, and plans are very much subject to change at this stage, so I have asked the Council’s planning department to let me know if they have not been contacted by the developers in the near future and I will be straight back on the case!

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